Rather than fight a lawsuit from an anti-mosque group trying to place this ad on city buses, the MTA gave it a green light yesterday. It'll be rolling around town in about a week, and is paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is run by Pamela Geller, a right-wing blogger who previously paid for these anti-Islam ads on city buses. Her newest opus juxtaposes an image of a plane about to hit the second tower at the World Trad Center, with a rendering of the Islamic center and mosque planned for Lower Manhattan, and the question, "Why There?"
The MTA had initially rejected the ad, which Geller bought through the company CBS Outdoor. She claims CBS Outdoor told her, "Images of 911 were not allowed." On her blog, Geller seethes, "I was floored. I said, 'It is American history. How can it be banned? What about Pearl Harbor? Is that censored too? On what grounds are 911 images banned?' It is unconscionable. Will of CBS said, 'You can't run the plane.'" So Geller took out the plane, but was told she had to take out the flames and the smoke, too. Fed up, she filed a lawsuit, and the MTA "caved," in Geller's humble opinion.
Yesterday the MTA released this statement: "While the MTA does not endorse the views expressed in this or other ads that appear on the transit system, the advertisement purchased by a group opposing a planned mosque near the World Trade Center was accepted today after its review under MTA’s advertising guidelines and governing legal standards." The MTA's guidelines are rather opaque, but apparently as long as you don't criticize the MTA, anything goes. The Authority will pocket about $10,000 from the ad buy.